Google has released a developer preview of the next iteration of Android, O. Android O brings improvements to battery life, notifications and as usual, UI Tweaks.
This release is for developers to familiarise with the software before it goes out to the public. This is the second year that Google has offered a developer preview a long time before expected release. However, unlike the release for Nougat, this year Over The Air updates are not available.
To install the preview for Android O, developers will have to download the software manually then flash their phones. The download is readily available for anyone on the Google developer website. Google made available images for Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL and Pixel C .
To save battery life, Google has placed more limits on background processes. This is akin to what Apple has always done. Apps that were designed for earlier versions of android might be affected by this change. To make sure the apps will work well, Google encourages the developers to test their applications.
The other headline feature is changes Google made to notifications. Users will now have more control over notifications within an app, as well as group together different notifications.
Other changes include adaptive icons, and better font support and an improved WebView. Android O also introduces support for wide-gamut displays, high-quality Bluetooth audio codecs and a new native audio API. For the developer, Google adds support for Java 8 APIs.
Although Google releases new android versions yearly, the problem with the ecosystem is fragmentation. This is partly due to Android’s open source nature. Most OEMS and Carriers want to add a few changes to stock android. This introduces further development costs and time. Manufactures then just leave older devices out there. Android Nougat is only on 2.8% of devices, with more than 50% on Marshmallow and below.